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Sierra Leoneans resolve to make religion an instrument of development

By  | 1 April 2010 at 03:35 | 549 views

Many Sierra Leoneans are still pursuing means to help lift the country from the doldrums in post- war era, and one such sector are the Muslims who in a recent seminar have resolved that Islam could be used as an instrument of development.

The seminar which was chaired by Sheikh Ahmed Tejan Sillah Chief Imam of the Freetown Central Mosque and Director of the Al Jafaria Islamic Organization attracted people from all walks of life. The theme of the seminar was; Prophet Muhammad, the Ahl Uhl Bayt (household of the Prophet) as a Source of Unity and Development”.

Sheikh Ahmed Tejan- Sillah (pictured) said Prophet Muhammad is a symbol of unity and added that he was compassionate. “These are attributes that a nation that wants to develop must emulate”, he said. He pointed out that in the household of the Prophet Imam Ali, the cousin of the Prophet was a man who was known for justice and equality. “These are requisites for any good leadership. Good leadership helps a nation to progress” he said.

Another speaker Sheikh Ibrahim Koleya Kamara said the unique qualities of the prophet and his household enhanced unity in Muslim communities during their life times. “When a people are imbibed to manifest love and unity among them, there is bound to be stability and progress”, he said.

The chancellor of the Iranian Cultural Centre Mohamed Reza Sofla underscored the need for unity so as to enhance social and political cohesion in a developing country. “Society is like a vehicle in which there is mutual dependence of parts . If one part is not functioning, it affects the others”, he said. According to him, a good Muslim should have rational judgment.. He said continued dissension among Muslims destroys the Islamic community. “Development cannot take place in the midst of chaos”, he said.

A lecturer at Fourah Bay College Abdul Karim Koroma said the virtues of the Holy Prophet are not only for Muslims but for all tribes and nations. “They are fundamental to social order and international relations”, he said.

Another speaker who established a link between the prophet, his household’s character and development was Alpha Jalloh. He said most of what NGOs were preaching had been said by religious leaders. He cited the HIV/AIDS campaign which stresses abstinence and fidelity. He said transparency and accountability which were currently trumpeted by the government were also issues that religious leaders had been preaching. “So the best NGOs are the mosques. That is why government ministries and institutions should partner with the mosques for policy implementation and sensitization”, he said. Various other speakers from other parts of the country including Alhaji Mallam Bello of the Hausa mosque in Freetown, Sheikh Abu Bakar Kamara of the Temne Mosque also spoke on the need for religion to be used as a tool for development and social change.

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